Here’s a look at how US troop levels in Afghanistan have changed since 2001

Former President Barack Obama praised President Biden’s “bold leadership” for his decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, calling it “the right decision.”

“President Biden has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Today, we should pause to pay tribute to the extraordinary sacrifices of the Americans who have served in our longest war, as well as their families,” a statement from Obama said.

“After nearly two decades of putting our troops in harm’s way, it is time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and that it’s time to bring our remaining troops home. I support President Biden’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world,” Obama continued in the statement.

Echoing similar themes from Biden’s remarks, the former President said the US should be focusing on other global challenges.

“Since we began to draw down U.S. forces in 2011, the United States made clear to the Afghan government that we would be gradually transitioning responsibility for security while creating time and space for efforts to improve governance and pursue diplomacy. Nearly a decade later, it is time to turn the page to the next chapter of our relationship with Afghanistan. There will be very difficult challenges and further hardship ahead in Afghanistan, and the U.S. must remain engaged diplomatically and through our development efforts to support the Afghan people, particularly those who have taken extraordinary risks on behalf of human rights,” Obama wrote.

Some more context: As CNN has previously reported, Biden argued ardently to Obama that troops should be drawn down in 2009. He even wrote a long memo and faxed it to Obama from his Thanksgiving vacation on Nantucket. His views went unheeded and that brush-off stuck with Biden over the years. Now, Obama is praising Biden’s “bold leadership” in finally pulling troops out.

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